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What Does the Bible Say About Plagues and Diseases?

As the world navigates through the coronavirus outbreak, this has been a good time to stop and think.

I am sure by now you probably have more questions than answers. Perhaps you have been asking yourself questions like why do plague outbreaks happen? Who is responsible for plague outbreaks? Is God in control? How should we respond to a crisis?

Let’s tackle the first question. What does the Bible say about why plague outbreaks happen? The Bible gives us different insights and stories about plagues. In Exodus 8, we learn that God sent plagues to prove to Pharaoh that God was in control, not him. God also wanted Pharaoh to free the Israelites to leave Egypt. In this particular situation, God used the plague to accomplish his purpose.

Right now, as we go through the coronavirus outbreak, God could be using it to accomplish his purpose. At this point we may not know how God is using this virus to accomplish his purpose but looking back we might be able to pinpoint positive outcomes of this pandemic.

Second, the plague could be the result of both personal and corporate sin. There are stories in the Bible where God sent plagues because of Israel’s sin. For example, in Numbers 16:41-50 and Numbers 25:1-9, 14, 700 and 24, 000 people died due to sin, respectively. Although, we serve a loving and merciful God, we need to remember sin is serious and we cannot treat sin lightly. God is just and he is holy. We must remember that sin is a spiritual cancer to our soul.

A third reason we might be going through this plague is to remove idols in our life. Again, sin is serious and God does not want anyone or anything to be more important than him. If you think about it right now, we can’t watch sports, go to theaters, or socially interact. Everything that took our time has been shut down so that we can have time for what matters, Him. In Ezekiel 7, God is mad at the Israelites because they worshiped money over him. Due to their sin, God sent a plagueA fourth reason this plague has come to the world is it is a birth pain. The Bible says in Matthew 24:6-8, that there will be signs pointing us to the end. One of those signs are plagues. God wants us to be ready and prepared for when Jesus returns. God wants us to accept the gift of salvation so that we are ready for heaven.

Therefore, who is responsible for plague outbreaks? We can see from the stories above that plagues can be caused by God (Exodus 8, Numbers 16 and 25). The Bible also reveals that Satan can cause sickness as well. Satan challenged God to remove the hedge he put around Job to test him. God agreed and Satan caused Job to become sick (Job 2:7). Take note, that everything that happened to Job was under the authority and power of God. Satan had to seek permission from God first. This reminds us that despite why the plagues are happening and who caused it -God has power.

In fact, God can stop a plague. In 2 Samuel 24, we learn that king David sinned by counting the number of men in his army. Counting his army was a sin because it was a pride issue. David wanted to boast about the number of men in his army. Due to David’s sin God gave him three options for his punishment. David chose three days of a plague. The angel came and struck the city with a plague and seventy thousand people died. The angel was about to strike Jerusalem, but God told him to withdraw his hand. God stopped the plague.

God can also heal us from sickness. In the book of Numbers 12, Miriam sinned and was inflicted with a sickness. Moses prayed and she was healed. Jesus also healed people with diseases (Matthew 9: 35, 10: 1 and Mark 3: 10).

No matter why the plague has come, who caused it, and knowing that God can stop it and heal us our response to this pandemic is the same. We need to examine our lives and make sure we are spiritually right with God and prepared for death.

Our response should be to repent of our personal and corporate sin. The Bible shows us that when God sent Jonah to preach to the Ninevites, they repented and God relented on punishing the people (Jonah 3: 10).

2 Chronicles 7:14 also reminds us that if we humble ourselves, pray, seek God, and turn from our wicked ways God will hear us, forgive us and heal our land.

It is important to repent of our sins and accept Jesus as our LORD and Savior so that we are ready. God is more concerned about the spiritual sickness of our heart than our bodies. Our soul is eternal, but our bodies are not. God wants us to be ready when we die.

Choose to make things right with God by putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Repent of your sins, have confidence that your sins are forgiven, and live a holy life by the power of the Holy Spirit living in you.

Watch the full sermon on this topic by clicking here.

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